On Sunday I was having a coffee with Alec before he left for
Alec is a Cornishman who, back in the day, surfed a 14ft
wooden long-board, when long-boards were the fashion and not because of the
retro calling for them. Alec loves
diving and has made great strides in his progression from being a non-diver to
being able to dive at 18 meters, controlling his buoyancy. He comes to Lanzarote and Calypso Diving in
particular whenever the urge to submerge overcomes his spirit.
After the coffee, we took the air, which was blowing hard
and we watched the surfers for a while.
The wind was pretty strong and the sea was rough.
Alec noticed that one surfer was not doing too well. I did not see what the problem was.
Then I saw the lifeguards running towards and passed
us. I gave chase on my cycle following
them around the coast line past the lagoon with the breakwater and around to
the next beach.
I followed them onto some outlying rocks and could see the
same windsurfer sitting astride his board.
He looked exhausted.
The lifeguards and local police, who had arrived on the
scene, were remonstrating for the windsurfer to steer into an inlet to the
sandy beach between the rocks.
The guy could do nothing.
The lifeguards radioed for a helicopter. Moments later the helicopter came.
They dropped a rescuer into the water before winching both
the victim and rescuer up to safety.
A lifeboat was also scrambled from Arrecife, which
attended to retrieve the windsurf board and sail.
Back on dry land the man was offered an Ambulance but
refused. His details were taken by the
local police and ambulance service before he walked off with friends.
The lifeguard gave a statement to me saying the victim is a
local man with many years experience as a surfer, but he was not able to
confirm the reason for the accident.
I stopped in at the surf rental shop on the beach and
enquired there. I was told that the
reason the man could not steer was because his sail had lost tension. Windsurf sails are tensioned at two
points. One point is referred to as the
'outhaul' which attached to a grommet at the 'clew'(the rear corner to which
the boom is attached). In this guys
case, his outhaul had snapped and he was spilling wind, unable to steer.
The reason so many resources were thrown at the rescue is
because had the windsurfer been blown any further down the coast he could very
well have been swept out to sea and toward Africa.
Nothing but drama on what is sometimes referred to as ‘The